Category Archives: Cool Technology

Working With the Intel Ultrabook

imageBack in September I wrote about my first impressions of the Ultrabook I received from Intel. It has now been a couple of months and so I thought I would give a follow up on how it has been holding up.  Well, I have to say that I have been impressed with it so much that I have been using it as my main machine.  It is not only a slim and sexy ultrabook ,weighing only 3.5 pounds, which is great when you travel, but it has really been a power house machine for me.  I have been spending a lot of time lately building Windows Phone 8 applications which requires a machine that supports SLAT (Second Level Address Translation) and this machine does. I have been building an app with a colleague that uses NFC to transfer data from one phone to another (or to another machine) and this has been a great machine to develop and test on.  I will do one more most and talk more specifically about the sensors and that application.  

To remind you, I have Windows 8 Release Candidate as the base install of this machine since that is how it was shipped to me,  and I am currently running Windows 8 RTM as a Boot To VHD.  I originally kept it set up this way because I was working on converting applications that I built using the RC version to RTM.  I tell you this because even running this as a Boot to VHD machine it is blazing fast with the IvyBridge I5 and 180GB SSD even though it only has 4GB of RAM. In addition, since it has a USB3 Port, I am able to show off using my Windows 8 To Go stick.  

Being in meetings all of the time, I find myself using two apps on this machine all of the time.  Skype and Lync.  Although not at the same time as the picture might suggest.  I guess I could.

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It has been a great machine for both of these apps.  I used it quite a bit over the Thanksgiving holidays to talk to family across the country.  The fact that is is a light machine made it easy to tote around the house for the different conversations.  The touchscreen works amazingly well and I find myself using it more than I have in the past.  I have a another tablet with Windows 8 loaded on it but I don’t use the touch screen that much.  I think that is  because when I touch it, it bounces back and fourth which makes it not respond as well and honestly a bit annoying.  With this machine, the screen stays solid and allows me to use it as it should be used.  Its funny, its those little things that really start to show up the longer you use a machine.

The one thing that is a bit of a downer for me is that the trackpad is too sensitive.  It is waaaay to easy to make the cursor jump to another locations by brushing it, but to be honest, I find this to be the case on most machines with a touchpad.

I will do one more post on this and talk more deeply about development on it as I dive into the sensors.

Happy Programing – The Sociable Geek


<disclaimer>I received the Intel Ultrabook (pre-release) for free in the hope that I would write about it in this blog. I only recommend things I personally endorse and would otherwise recommend without further consideration. I’m disclosing this in accordance with the FTC’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. I also cleared it with my employer (and this is the important part)  and I made sure the agreement said that my review would be my honest opinion. This review reflects my opinion alone, and doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of my employer or anyone else.</disclaimer>



Can your phone do Mach 5

Now I admit, this is a really cheezy video… but it does go to show you the quality workmanship of the Nokia phones…. So I ask you, can YOUR phone do Mach 5?



Add Facebook Login to Your WP7 App

imageHaving a single sign-on is cool for you application. In this day an age, it is enough to try to remember even 10 of your passwords.  Outlook/Exchange, LiveID, Facebook, etc…  If I had to remember a password for every website and app I have, it would drive me crazy. Good thing that we have claims based identity.  Now I just need to remember my LiveID of Facebook Sign on (Among others).  Now if you are creating a WP7 application and want to take advantage of that, you can take advantage of a nuget package that takes the hard work out of it for you.  My buddy Bruno Terkaly has created step by step instructions on how to add this to your windows phone application.

Read More Here



New Facebook App for Windows Phone

clip_image001I have been using the Facebook features of my Windows Phone for a while now but mostly through the People Tile and NOT the Facebook app. Thankfully now there is a new and improved Facebook Application.

Download it and let me know what you think.

The marketplace link   http://www.windowsphone.com/en-US/apps/82a23635-5bd9-df11-a844-00237de2db9e

Their facebook page : http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=135892916448833

Engadgets post on it  : http://www.engadget.com/2012/02/14/facebook-app-windows-phone-update/



Virtualization for Developers

One of the Evangelists on my team from the IT pro side of the world ( Chris Avis ), has put together a series of blog posts around Virtualization. Virtualization is here to stay. It doesn’t matter if you are an IT Professional for a multinational company, or running a small business, chances are, virtualization is making an impact on how you work. Developers are also leveraging virtualization to gain efficiencies, stabilize their test environments and more.

The series has a strong focus on delivering the skills required to take and pass the Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization Exam (70-659). But even if you aren’t interested in taking the exam, the information provided is invaluable to anyone that is just starting to use the Microsoft Virtualization platform. There is also some deep dive technical information planned for those that already work with virtualization.

Check out the blog series at his blog!

Passing the Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization Exam (70-659) – Part 1 – Study Resources

Passing the Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization Exam (70-659) – Part 2 – Skills Measured

Passing the Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization Exam (70-659) – Part 3 – Installing and Configuring Host and Parent Settings

Passing the Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization Exam (70-659) – Part 4 – Creating and Configuring Guest VM’s

Passing the Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization Exam (70-659) – Part 5 – I’m a Developer! Why Virtualize?



Turn this video into an add.

Brandon Foy, an aspiring graphic artist created this great WP7 video.. If 200,000 people view it, MS will turn it into an ad.  What a way to boost your resume.

 

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Go Check it out.

 

Daniel Egan



Podcasting Setup–My new microphone.

So since I have been recording more and more videos, I decided to spend some money on better equipment.  First listen to the difference between videos (short clip below) and then you can read on if you want to know what I purchased.

 

Now, I must confess, although I am a geek, I am not a sound geek so this is and was all new to me Smile

I did some research on the internet and talked to many of my fellow devs/bloggers to find out what they were using.  I got many different answers during my quest and received some great advice.  I selected the items below instead of a USB microphone was because I wanted to be able to expand in the future if I wanted to.  If the mic was a USB mic then I could never really use it in any other environment ( Speaker events, code camp, etc…)

 

Microphone :

Perception 220

 

I selected this microphone for a number of reasons.  First, AKG is know for quality microphones, and although there are more expensive mics out there, this fit the bill for my needs. It is a condenser microphone which means it works on phantom power (USB) and has a Cardioid Pickup Pattern, which means that it will pick up “mostly” sounds that are right in front of it.  This means that police cars, lawnmowers, etc… should not be picked up while I am recording my videos. It has many other features as seen here, but those two things were important to me.  In addition, it also came with a spider shock mount and case for $179.00 total.  The shock mount helps to reduce noise from hitting the desk that it is sitting on.

 

 

 

Audio Input :

 

Since I needed something to plug the microphone into (remember, I did not want the USB mic), I purchased the M-Audio Fast Track pro.  I opted for the pro because it allowed me to expand to two microphones if I want to in the future.  All I needed to do was install the drive,  plug in the microphone and I was all set.  It also comes with some sound mixing software called Live light which I have not yet started to play with.  It was an easy set up and the sound quality was great.

 

Besides these two things, I also picked up a microphone cord (of course) and a pop screen to go in the front so that it does not pick up the “P” and “T” sounds when speaking close to the microphone.  And finally to round it all out, I bought a desktop swing arm microphone stand to hold it all.  I know I have plenty more to learn about the equipment but at least this should give me a good start (and better videos).

 

imageHere is the final product (minus the M-Audio, which is behind my screen).

It should be fun working with it.

 

Daniel Egan – The Sociable Geek



WP7 Minute–Episode VII–Cool Diagnostics

The Windows Phone 7 Minute is a show to discuss the features of the Windows Phone 7. In the show we will talk about things that are important to both Consumers and Developers. From Live Tiles, to Push Notifications, to cut-and paste, we will talk about the things that are important to you. If you want a particular subject covered, please drop us a line.

Episode 7 – Cool Diagnostics
In this episode, we look at the cool ## diagnostics menu. A cool hidden menu for the WP7 Samsung

 

Enjoy – Daniel Egan – The Sociable Geek



WP7 Minute Episode IV–Search

The Windows Phone 7 Minute is a show to discuss the features of the Windows Phone 7. In the show we will talk about things that are important to both Consumers and Developers. From Live Tiles, to Push Notifications, to cut-and paste, we will talk about the things that are important to you. If you want a particular subject covered, please drop us a line.

Episode IV – Search
In this episode we show you the cool things search can do on the WP7 phone.   Looking for a flight, movie, or just some pizza… check it out.



WP7 Minute Episode I : Hubs and Panorama

The Windows Phone 7 Minute is a show to discuss the features of the Windows Phone 7.  In the show we will talk about things that are important to both Consumers and Developers.  From Live Tiles, to Push Notifications, to cut-and paste, we will talk about the things that are important to you.  If you want a particular subject covered, please drop us a line.

 

Episode I : Hubs and Panoramas

 

In this episode, we discuss the difference between a hub and a panorama and what the benefits are of each.

Enjoy